The best kind…yes?

I’m probably not the only linear thinker reading this blog. I tend to think in terms of either/or, not yes/and. I like things tidy. If you’ve ever seen Wall-E, the fabulous movie from Pixar, I’m the character Mo, the one who goes around cleaning up after Wall-E. I want to categorize, label, stuff things in boxes that are all the same size and shape and fit neatly on a closet shelf. No space remaining. Pics of the item on the outside of the box cross-referenced with a black-and-white label. I don’t like chaos, noise, change, or things I can’t control.

You can imagine how easy I am to live with.

Scott Griessel planted the idea of complicated conversations in my brain. He got the reference from a Darkwood Brew speaker whose name I can’t remember, who said she wanted to complicate a conversation, not resolve it. I love that, in theory, but it wasn’t until Eric’s sermon last week that I really understood it on a visceral level.

Allowing the ball of your soul to spring up from the water, into the air, towards God, isn’t always an either/or proposition, although it’s often presented that way in the magazines that sell what I call life-porn. Either work as an investment banker or live on a sailboat. Either work as a lawyer or open your own patisserie. If we feel restless, unsettled, we might long for the black-and-white choice between “soulless corporate world” and “life-giving dream” that comes when you’ve been fired (as in the video clip from Up in the Air). Getting fired means we have to choose. It’s simple. Uncomplicated. Someone else came with a dump truck and hauled away the old holding you underwater, leaving lots of empty space for the clean, shiny new.

Life, however, is complicated because people are complicated (and if we are, God really is). For the last year or so I’ve felt called to a different kind of writing. Because I’m linear and black-and-white, I thought this meant choosing between writing genre fiction and writing spiritual non-fiction…until a few elements crashed together in my soul: living with paradoxes…embracing the mystery of God-made-flesh and the Spirit, still speaking to me…complicated conversations with complicated people who live with more grace than I do.

This is what I realized: it’s not either/or. It’s yes/and. It’s cutting down on the time sucks of social media and unhelpful relationships to make room for what brings me joy. It’s recognizing I’m called to use all the gifts I have. I don’t have to choose. I can be a paradox, a mystery, complicated. Sometimes clarity is born from the complicated, as we embrace who we are and where we are and in doing so hearing God’s voice even more clearly in the din.

Do I want to be made well? Yes. Please God, yes. But God, help me to see that wellness doesn’t always mean clean and tidy and uniform. Help me to see health in the complexity of Your world, and in me.


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